Spicy Shrimp and Clam Pasta

With this spicy pasta you can have dinner on the table in under 45 minutes. 

Spicy Shrimp and Clam Pasta Recipe

Hi there. It’s me, Joanne. This is an updated post from September 2009, which was only our third month sharing recipes with you. A lot has changed since then. Here’s the little blurb we wrote way back then. If you’re only interested in the recipe, scroll down to the recipe below.

From 2009: We are only into our second month here at Inspired Taste and I must say Adam and I are pretty excited with our progress.  It may not seem like too much, but yesterday we had a record breaking 64 unique visitors look at our site.  When we compare that with last month it has more than tripled.  We have also started to receive comments on various posts, which is quite possibly the coolest thing ever!  I knew we would be excited, but once we started hearing from people out there who liked something we did, it truly was an awesome feeling.  Sometimes I sit at my computer wondering if anyone will actually care about what I am saying, am I actually that interesting? … like right now, is someone really wanting to read about how many unique visitors we had yesterday?  It is incredibly humbling to know that people do take the time to view our work and possibly even try our recipes and then take the additional time to write to us either through email or by commenting on our site.

How to Make the Best Spicy Pasta with Shrimp and Clams

This spicy pasta recipe comes from a coworker who was kind enough to let us in on one of his favorite recipes. The sauce comes together pretty quickly and is packed with flavor thanks to cooked onions, dry vermouth, red pepper flakes, fresh parsley and lemon juice. This sauce is perfect with shrimp and clams, but you can also skip the shellfish and simply toss the sauce with pasta.

How to Make Spicy Pasta with Shrimp and Clams

The shrimp are peeled then deveined and roasted in the oven while the sauce comes together and then added at the very end. The clams are washed and put into the sauce a few minutes before serving so they have a chance to open.

Spicy Shrimp and Clam Pasta

  • PREP
  • COOK

This spicy pasta recipe comes from a coworker who was kind enough to let us in on one of his favorite recipes. The sauce comes together pretty quickly and is packed with flavor thanks to cooked onions, dry vermouth, red pepper flakes, fresh parsley and lemon juice.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

You Will Need

1 pound dry pasta such as spaghetti or fettuccini

Salt and fresh ground black pepper

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for cooking shrimp

1 tablespoon butter

1 medium onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/3 cup dry vermouth or substitute dry white wine

1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 lemon, cut into wedges

1 1/4 pounds littleneck clams (about 15 clams), scrubbed

1  pound cleaned large shrimp


    1Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

    2Add the olive oil and butter to a wide skillet (with lid) over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.

    3Pour in the vermouth and use a wooden spoon to scrape any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes, red pepper flakes and brown sugar. Bring to a low simmer and cook until reduced slightly, about 8 minutes. While cooking, use a wooden spoon to break the whole tomatoes apart into bite-size chunks.

    4Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling salted water until it is tender but not mushy. Drain, but reserve about 1/4 cup of the pasta water.

    5While the pasta is cooking, cook the shrimp. Toss shrimp with a tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper. Add to a baking dish and roast the shrimp for 5 to 10 minutes until pink, firm, and cooked through.

    6When the sauce is done, add the clams and cover with a lid. Allow them to steam for 4 to 5 minutes. After 4 to 5 minutes, the clams should have opened, if one or two have not, remove from the pan and discard.

    7Add the shrimp, cooked pasta, and about 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Toss well then cook one more minute until the sauce coats the pasta. Top with parsley and serve with lemon wedges on the side.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • The sauce can be made (without shellfish) up to 3 days in advance or frozen up to 1 month.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
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17 comments… Leave a Review
  • Kathy Selleck July 24, 2021, 8:06 pm

    I have made this meal many times in variations of your recipe. I will try roasting the shrimp and using dry vermouth. Its such wonderful ingredients how can you go wrong. But this looks terrific and trying it tomorrow night for special company!

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  • Frank italiano March 21, 2013, 6:42 pm

    what temperature should the shrimp be baked at for the 5 minutes?

    • Frank italiano March 21, 2013, 6:44 pm

      sorry for the question. recipe calls for 400 degrees.

  • tiff March 14, 2013, 10:01 am

    Great recipe! Made it last night and have leftovers today! Added fennel seeds and exchanged seafood for chicken. Doubled garlic. Everyone loved it. Thanks for this!

  • Kerri August 11, 2012, 7:49 pm

    I would LOVE to make this recipe it sounds sooo delicious but it appears that the first 5 ingredients are missing. I am not sure how much to use of the olive oil, butter, onion, garlic, or vermouth. Please let me know, my family would love to try this 🙂

    • Adam August 20, 2012, 12:07 pm

      Thank you letting us know. We recently recently reformatted the recipe and we didn’t move over some of the ingredient list. It is now fixed!

  • Diane July 14, 2012, 1:48 pm

    Olive oil, butter, onions, garlic and vermouth are not listed in ingredients, neither is the amount of each of these mentioned in the cooking directions. I could guess at the amounts, but think there was a mistake in the writing.

    • Adam August 20, 2012, 12:08 pm

      You are the second person to notice the mistake. It is fixed. Thanks for the great catch 🙂

  • David May 17, 2012, 7:59 pm

    I made this dish and it was absolutely wonderful

  • Jacki March 22, 2011, 1:42 pm

    Wow! I absolutely love your introduction. You write and present exceptionally well. Have you considered writing a personalized cookbook using your recipes and incorporating little interesting tidbits? Hmmm-might consider doing it myself. I was surfing looking for a shrimp and spinach recipe and ran across your shrimp Diablo … plan to try it. Best wishes .

  • Ash October 30, 2009, 10:09 am

    This looks sooo tasty!! I might need to make me some of this!

  • Camilla @ FoodRepublik October 23, 2009, 3:19 am

    Hi Joanne and Adam,
    Thanks for your kind email. I saw this pic up on FoodGawker and noticed it was you! What a beautiful picture – you guys are truly talented at photography. Can’t wait to try this recipe – it looks delicious!

  • Ama October 22, 2009, 3:33 pm

    love this site, it’s a great way to find new recipies. 🙂

  • Marie October 22, 2009, 11:55 am

    I’m a big fan of spicy food, this caught my eye immediately on Foodgawker today.

  • Michael September 23, 2009, 10:11 pm

    This is indeed an excellent sauce! It is fairly easy to prepare, and it has a rather impressive presentation. Granted, I’m biased on the matter. =)

    I strongly recommend trying it if you enjoy spicy foods. And if you aren’t a huge fan of spicy food, just adjust the amount of red pepper flakes you use!


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